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Impact of forestry practices on fitness correlates and population productivity in an open-nesting bird species

Griesser, M., Nystrand, M., Eggers, S. and Ekman, J. (2007) Impact of forestry practices on fitness correlates and population productivity in an open-nesting bird species. Conservation Biology, 21 (3). pp. 767-774. ISSN 0888-8892


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In the boreal forests of Fennoscandia, over 99% of the forest area has been altered by forestry practices, which has created forests of differing age structures and stand characteristics than primary forest stands. Although many researchers have investigated how forestry affects species abundance, few have assessed how forestry affects fitness correlates of species living in altered habitats, and this has negatively affected management efforts. We experimentally addressed the effect of standard forestry practices on fitness correlates of an open-nesting, long-lived bird species typical to boreal forests of Eurasia, the Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus L.). Using a before-after comparison of reproductive data on the level of territories, we found that standard forestry practices had a strong negative effect on the breeding success of jays. Both partial thinning of territories and partial clearcutting of territories reduced future breeding success by a factor of 0.35. Forestry practices reduced territory occupancy. Thus, over the 15 years of the study the productivity of the affected population declined over 50% as a result of territory abandonment and reduced breeding success. Results of previous studies on Siberian Jays suggest that the strong effect of forest thinning on fitness is explained by the fact that most common predators of nests and adults are visually oriented, and thinning makes prey and nests more visible to predators. The consequences of thinning we observed are likely to apply to a wide range of species that rely on understory to provide visual protection from predators. Thus, our results are important for the development of effective conservation management protocols and for the refinement of thinning practices.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2007 Society for Conservation Biology. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Conservation Biology. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: clearcutting, habitat fragmentation, Perisoreus infaustus, population viability, Siberian Jay, thinning
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Michael Griesser
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2007
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:54
Published Version: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j...
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00675.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2591

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